BY JAMES ROSS – FAN FUEL BLOGGER
As the Vancouver Whitecaps prepared for season two in MLS under manager Martin Rennie, there seemed a quiet optimism surrounding the club. The signing of Young Pyo-Lee, a South Korean international who has plied his trade for teams such as PSV Eindhoven and Tottenham Hotspur, and has been capped over 100 times for the South Korean national side, was seen as a very important move for the ‘Caps.
Add big Argentine defender Martin Bonjour, Japanese holding mid Jun Marques Davidson and experienced French striker Sebastien Le Toux, and it appears the ‘Caps had done a great job augmenting their current roster for this upcoming season. And so far, the results have been very positive, unlike their two Canadian rivals.
The past two matches have seen Vancouver draw at home to DC United (with another Man of the Match performance from DeMerit) and then away last week to Philadelphia Union, with both matches ending in a 0-0 scoreline. And for the past two weeks, experienced American keeper Joe Cannon (who, incidentally, has a Canadian father) has made the save of the week in MLS, and has now kept a clean sheet in all four Whitecaps games this year.
All in all, a very positive start for the Whitecaps. Unlike TFC, Vancouver have opted for a less volatile roster shuffle, with a fair amount of the team from last season back for season two. And, as I pointed out earlier, they’ve added intelligently, carefully choosing to add the right players to the side to improve while maintaining some familiarity for the team to work with.
Building around the core of Joe Cannon, Jay DeMerit, Alain Rochat, Davide Chiumento and Eric Hassli, the additions have really gelled quickly, and Vancouver looks to be a very competitive side this season.
Of note for Canadians, watch for 19-year-old left footed Russell Teibert, just back from a strong showing with the Canadian Olympic team, to build on his solid inaugural season as professional last year with Vancouver. Also, watch for Bryce Alderson, an 18-year-old midfielder who also was part of the Olympic team. Having been voted the CSA under-17 player of the year in both 2010 and 2011 (Teibert earned the honour in both 2009 and 2008), the future certainly appears bright for this midfield playmaker.
Let’s hope the ‘Caps continue their fine start, and let’s also hope these two young Canadians continue to emerge to help enhance not only the Whitecaps franchise, but also our National program.
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